Mugabe sponsoring human rights violations—Crisis Coalition

By Tatenda Dewa | Harare Bureau |

Ongoing victimisation of government critics is happening with President Robert Mugabe’s blessings, according to Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC), an umbrella body for human rights organisations.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe addresses party supporters during a gathering to honor the country's dead heroes, at the National Heroes Acre in Harare, Monday, Aug. 8, 2016. The commemorations are held annually to honor the southern African country's dead heroes, particularly those who fought in the 1970s independence war. Leaders of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association, who broke away from the 92-year-old president in July, boycotted the event. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe

In a statement on Wednesday, the coalition accused Mugabe of using hate speech to foment violence.

The president has been using rallies and other public events to attack citizen protesters who since June have been staging demonstrations against public sector corruption, human rights abuses, the current economic crisis and lack of electoral reforms needed to enable free and fair elections.

“On numerous occasions, and in front of his blood-thirsty Zanu (PF) militia, President Mugabe has chosen to endanger the lives of civic society and opposition activists by castigating them and threatening to deal with them for choosing to differ with his ideology.

“We thus hold the firm view that abductions, torture and murder of civic society and opposition activists have the full blessings of President Mugabe who at one time declared that he was too busy to be bothered by the disappearance of human rights activist, Itai Dzamara who was abducted by State security agents in March 2015,” said Crisis.

Dzamara was abducted by suspected State security agents in broad daylight and his whereabouts remain unknown.

He had led a series of peaceful protests calling on Mugabe to vacate power through the Occupy Africa Unity Square (OAUS) campaign.

Crisis expressed its concern over increased enforced abductions of civil activists and members of the opposition in recent months.

“History is clear that President Mugabe and Zanu PF will do anything, including shedding blood, to defend their stay in power,’ added the coalition.

Mugabe recently threatened judges who have been ruling in favour of citizen and opposition party applications to hold demonstrations while the police chief, Augustine Chihuri, warned protesters against further demonstrations

Police have repeatedly opposed applications to demonstrate peacefully and have twice banned protests in Harare.

The first ban was overturned at the High Court while the second one that extends till mid-October is being challenged. Nehanda Radio